Scottish Premiership: Willie Collum to referee Motherwell v Rangers

Willie Collum will take charge of Saturday’s lunchtime encounter at Fir Park, with Bobby Madden appointed to Celtic’s televised match against Hearts on Sunday.

willie-collum-referee-albion-rovers-v-celtic-22nd-jan-2017
Solid: Collum issued just one yellow card and was on top of proceedings during Celtic’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win at Albion Rovers last weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

WILLIE Collum will be the referee for Rangers’ televised Scottish Premiership match at Motherwell on Saturday.

The Euro 2016 official, who turned 38 last week, will be in the middle as the Gers make the trip to Fir Park for the lunchtime game live on Sky Sports (KO 12:45 GMT).

He will be assisted by David McGeachie and Gordon Crawford, with Euan Anderson on fourth official duties.

Collum – who won’t have far to travel from his Lanarkshire residence – will oversee his 29th game of the season in all competitions.

He has so far brandished 90 yellow cards, sent off five players and awarded nine penalties.

The Religious Education teacher will have no excuse for taking his eye off the ball after visiting a Specsavers store this week, in recognition of the partnership the opticians share with the Scottish FA.

It will be a 13th top-flight match of the campaign for Collum, who has handled a League Cup Final, two Scottish Cup Finals and the 2015 Uefa Super Cup.

The Glasgow-born whistler will control his fourth Rangers game of the campaign – and first of 2017 – after sending off Philippe Senderos in their 5-1 Old Firm derby defeat at Celtic in September before 1-0 victories at Inverness in October and home to Dundee in November.

Meanwhile, Collum will be in the middle for a third Motherwell match of 2016-17 after their 4-2 derby win over Hamilton in September – in which he awarded the Steelmen a spotkick – and 1-1 draw at St Johnstone last month.

It will be the third time he takes charge of a fixture involving the two sides – after Rangers’ 2-1 win in a League Cup semi-final at Hampden in 2011 and a goalless draw at Ibrox in the league in 2012, both of which passed without major incident.

Mark Warburton’s second-placed Rangers will be looking to extend the gap over Aberdeen in third, which currently stands at two points, while Mark McGhee’s Motherwell could move into the top six with a first top-flight win over the Gers since December 2002.

The sides met as recently as last weekend as Kenny Miller scored twice for Rangers, who came from behind to beat the Steelmen in their Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Ibrox.


Madden gets another top-flight test

Bobby Madden in action
Well-known: Madden has established himself as a referee domestically in the Scottish top-flight and on the European stage in the Europa League (Picture from Sky Sports)

Bobby Madden will take charge of Celtic’s televised encounter with Hearts on Sunday.

The 38-year-old will be in the middle when the champions host the Jambos at Parkhead in front of the Sky cameras (KO 13:00 GMT).

His assistants will be Graham Chambers and Stephen Mitchell, while Greg Aitken will be on fourth official duties.

Madden was also in the middle for a 3-1 Celtic win over Hearts last season in his only other experience of a fixture between the sides.

He enjoyed a largely quiet display but booked six players and sent off Hearts defender Juwon Oshaniwa late on for a second yellow card.

It will only be the 18th game Madden will have officiated this season, after missing two months as he bravely battled thyroid cancer.

Overall, he has dished out 48 yellow cards, two red cards and pointed to the penalty spot 11 times in his 17 matches so far.

The East Kilbride whistler, who was an additional assistant referee at Euro 2016, will handle his third Celtic game of the campaign after their 4-1 win over 10-man Aberdeen in August and 2-1 success against Dundee in December – both also at Celtic Park.

His only Hearts match so far was their 3-0 victory over Motherwell at Tynecastle in November – in which only two players were cautioned.

Madden’s biggest career honour to date came in Celtic’s 2-0 win over 10-man Dundee United in the 2015 League Cup showpiece at Hampden Park.

Both sides were in action in midweek – with Hearts beating Raith Rovers 4-2 after extra time in a Scottish Cup replay, while Celtic edged past St Johnstone 1-0 in their game in hand in the league.

You can see the rest of the SPFL appointments for this weekend here.

Scottish Cup: Thomson and Collum to referee Rangers and Celtic

Craig Thomson will be in the middle for Rangers against Motherwell at Ibrox, while Willie Collum has been appointed to Celtic’s fourth-round tie at Albion Rovers.

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Centre stage: Thomson (left) and Collum have attracted controversy in the past but have represented Scotland well on the European and international scene (Pictures from Sky Sports)

The heavyweights will be out in force as the match official appointments for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup have been announced.

Craig Thomson will take charge of the first tie of the weekend as Rangers face another Premiership side in Motherwell at Ibrox on Saturday (KO 12:30 GMT).

And fellow elite official Willie Collum will be in the middle for Celtic’s trip to League One Albion Rovers on Sunday – also live on Sky Sports – with kick-off at 15:00 GMT.

The other TV game will see John Beaton oversee Hearts’ match at Championship outfit Raith Rovers in front of the BBC Scotland cameras earlier on Sunday (KO 13:05 GMT).


Thomson makes Ibrox return

Craig Thomson referee
Veteran: Thomson is the longest-serving of the current crop of Scottish officials having refereed his first top-flight match in May 2002 (Picture from Sky Sports)

It will be the fourth time Thomson will encounter Rangers this season but his first trip to Ibrox for a year since giving them two penalties in their 4-1 win over Livingston on the way to the Championship title.

The vastly-experienced whistler handled their 2-1 win at Dundee in August, 1-0 loss to Celtic in the Old Firm League Cup semi-final, and 2-0 defeat at Hearts in November.

His only Motherwell matches were their 2-1 victory at Kilmarnock on the opening weekend and 1-1 draw at Partick Thistle in September.

Overall, the trained lawyer from Renfrewshire has brandished 95 yellow cards, sent off seven players and awarded six penalties in 24 games in all competitions.

Thomson has previously officiated three Scottish Cup Finals – including Rangers’ 1-0 victory over Falkirk in the 2009 showpiece at Hampden.

He will be assisted by Alan Mulvanny and Andrew McWilliam, with Stephen Finnie on fourth official duties.

Earlier this season, Thomson was involved in a bitter spat with pundit Chris Sutton, who called him a ‘bottler’ after opting not to send off Rangers midfielder Harry Forrester for a second bookable offence in their 2-1 success at Dens Park.

He was also branded ‘the Scottish butcher’ by angry Besiktas players after a controversial performance in their pivotal 6-0 defeat at Dynamo Kiev during the Champions League group stages.


Collum reunited with Celtic

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Spotlight: Collum has largely stayed under the radar after being dropped for a period last term following a number of contentious decisions (Picture from Sky Sports)

Collum usually officiates Celtic on a monthly basis but it will only be the third occasion he will oversee the champions so far this term.

The 2015 Uefa Super Cup and Euro 2016 referee put in a fine display in their 5-1 thumping of Rangers at Parkhead in September.

But he was criticised by Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers for sending off Calum McGregor in their 1-1 draw at Hamilton on Christmas Eve.

It will be the first time the Religious Education teacher will be in the middle for an Albion Rovers game, which will be staged at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium to allow extra fans to watch – a stone’s throw from where he resides in North Lanarkshire.

In 27 matches across six competitions this season, Glasgow-born Collum has dished out 89 bookings, issued five red cards and pointed to the penalty spot nine times.

The 37-year-old has handled two Scottish Cup Finals – the first of which was Celtic’s 3-0 win over Hibernian in 2013.

He will be assisted by Michael Banks and John McCrossan, while Gavin Duncan will act as the fourth official.

To his credit, the notoriously card-happy Collum has rarely attracted controversy this term.

The only notable occasion came when he was slated by fans on social media after harshly penalising Jamie MacDonald for a perceived foul on James Maddison, which led to Aberdeen’s opening goal in their 4-0 win at Kilmarnock in October.

You can see the rest of the Scottish Cup match official appointments here.

Scottish Premiership: Moussa Dembele sets record straight on Celtic future

The Frenchman has been heavily linked with a move away from Glasgow in January but he appears to have given assurances on his future.

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In-form: The French Under-21 international has made the Celtic striking spot his own ahead of Leigh Griffiths in the first half of the season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Celtic fans can breathe a sigh of relief as red-hot striker Moussa Dembele appears to have given some clarity about his immediate future.

The Frenchman has ripped up the Scottish Premiership since arriving last summer from English Championship side Fulham and is the champions’ top scorer so far this season with 19 goals in all competitions.

The 20-year-old has been heavily linked with a move away in the January transfer window, with English Premier League outfit West Ham United reportedly keen in signing him.

But, according to Celtic Quote on Twitter, Dembele has now reassured the Hoops supporters that he is going nowhere – at least for now.

In a recent interview, he said: “I have a four-year contract and I don’t see myself leaving Celtic. I’m not leaving in the January window.”

Dembele is currently away with the Celtic squad in Dubai for their mid-season training camp, with the Scottish top-flight currently on a three-week winter break.

And, whilst away, Brendan Rodgers has expressed his determination not to cash in on one of his prized assets after just six months.

He said: “Even if a club offered what we thought was the player’s worth now, we don’t need to do it. We want to improve and keep developing as a team.

“I respect the market in Scotland because it is tough. I can imagine that if someone comes in with, say £20 million it’s like ‘bloody hell’. I can understand that.

“But if you invest some more time then you can maybe get even more money.”

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Bargain buy: Dembele became Rodgers’ first signing as Celtic boss last summer for a development fee of around £500,000 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Earlier this week, former Celtic frontman Charlie Nicholas gave his view that Dembele shouldn’t be in a rush to leave Glasgow and should carefully consider who his next club should be.

The Sky Sports pundit said: “If the right club comes in then make sure it is the right club for you. I can judge that, because I had a lot of clubs after me.

“Is he going to get a game at Arsenal? I would say not. All the top clubs? I would say not yet. In a year’s time? A strong possibility.”

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First impressions: Dembele announced his arrival with the first Celtic Old Firm league hat-trick since 1966 in their 5-1 win over Rangers in September (Picture from Sky Sports)

The forward has played a huge part in the club’s success so far this season – with Celtic having already won the League Cup and holding a 19-point lead at the top of the Premiership after a 2-1 win over second-placed Rangers at Ibrox on New Year’s Eve.

He scored three goals in the Champions League group stages, nine in the league, five Old Firm goals, a penalty in the 3-0 League Cup final success against Aberdeen and has racked up five assists.

The Hoops have already recruited in the transfer market, with Ivorian midfielder Kouassi Eboue signing from Russian side FC Krasnodar and allowed defender Eoghan O’Connell to join English League One side Walsall on loan.

Celtic return to action next Sunday in a Scottish Cup fourth round tie against League One Albion Rovers at the Excelsior Stadium.

Scottish Premiership: Celtic take New Year honours in Old Firm derby

Scott Sinclair scores the winner as Celtic claim the New Year honours in Glasgow by coming from behind to beat Rangers at Ibrox and earn a 15th successive league win.

  •  Old Firm derby on Hogmanay at packed Ibrox
  •  Miller puts Rangers ahead early on
  •  Dembele and Sinclair turn it around for Celtic
  •  Hoops maintain unbeaten domestic record
players-tunnel
Adversaries: Celtic and Rangers went head to head for the 404th time in a competitive game – and the first at Ibrox since March 2012 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Celtic claimed the New Year honours in Glasgow, coming from behind to beat Rangers and record a 15th successive league win in the first Old Firm derby at Ibrox in almost five years. 

Veteran striker Kenny Miller rewarded Rangers’ early enterprise by firing them into the lead from close range against his former club.

With their first shot on target, Moussa Dembele drew the Hoops level with a spectacular finish for his fifth goal against Rangers this season.

Celtic upped the ante in the second half and showed their powers of recovery, as Scott Sinclair scored the winner with 20 minutes remaining.

As 2017 approaches, Brendan Rodgers’ men open up a 19-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership, with a game in hand to come against St Johnstone next month, heading into the winter break – the biggest ever advantage at this stage of a top-flight season.

The champions, seeking a sixth successive league title and first under Rodgers, have a hat-trick of derby wins this term after September’s 5-1 demolition at Celtic Park and the League Cup semi-final success the following month.

Rangers can take plenty of positives, with Barrie McKay excellent as an attacking force, but Mark Warburton’s side, who are now only two points ahead of third-placed Aberdeen, face a battle to secure the runners-up spot after suffering a first home defeat in 34 games.

Lining up with a back three, the hosts hit the front by pressing Celtic in wide areas from the outset.

It paid dividends in the 12th minute when Josh Windass released James Tavernier to cross low for Miller – wearing the captain’s armband in the injured Lee Wallace‘s absence – who finished well inside the six yard box for his 10th Old Firm goal.

But in the aftermath, fellow forward Joe Garner had to be stretchered off and was replaced by Martyn Waghorn.

Rangers continued to look menacing and ask questions of the Celtic defence but, after Sinclair struck the post and Clint Hill put the rebound behind for a corner, the visitors responded.

Stuart Armstrong’s deep delivery picked out Dembele, who had escaped the attentions of Danny Wilson, and the Frenchman instantly brought the ball under control before unleashing a powerful left-foot volley into the roof of the net for goal number 19 this season.

Celtic came out stronger in the second period to take a firm grip of proceedings, with Wes Foderingham in the Rangers goal the much busier keeper.

Armstrong and James Forrest brought good saves from the ex-Swindon man before Dembele hit the frame of the goal with a mishit effort after good work from Calum McGregor – returning after a one-match ban.

Rangers continued to offer a threat as McKay’s long-range effort and a Wilson header tested Celtic stopper Craig Gordon – celebrating his 34th birthday.

But the visitors struck the decisive blow to complete the turnaround in front of their delighted supporters as substitute Patrick Roberts found Armstrong in space and his inviting cross was touched in by Sinclair for his ninth of the campaign.

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Worse for wear: Rodgers appeared to injure himself whilst celebrating Sinclair’s goal (Picture from Sky Sports)

Celtic could have gone further ahead in the closing stages as Armstrong, Sinclair and sub Nir Bitton produced more saves from Foderingham.

And Rangers might have snatched a late leveller through Miller, who hit the base of the post from a well-weighted centre by Andy Halliday.

However, as referee Steven McLean – excellent on his Old Firm derby debut – blew the final whistle, the hosts could only reflect on an encouraging display despite their best efforts.

Meanwhile, Celtic ensured they signed off for 2016 by maintaining their domestic bliss after proving once again why they are looking such an unstoppable force this season.


TEAMS:

rangers-xi

Substitutes: Waghorn (on for Garner 16′), Dodoo (on for Windass 65′) and Forrester (on for Holt 83′).
Not used: Gilks (GK), Hodson, Crooks, O’Halloran.
Booked: Hill, Tavernier, Windass
Goals: Miller (12′)

 

celtic-xi

Substitutes: Roberts (on for Forrest 68′) and Bitton (on for McGregor 86′).
Not used: De Vries (GK), Toure, Gamboa, Mackay-Steven, Griffiths.
Booked: Simunovic, Lustig, Brown
Goals: Dembele (33′), Sinclair (70′)


MATCH OFFICIALS:

Steven McLean referee

Referee: Steven McLean – 9/10
Assistant referees: Douglas Ross and Frank Connor
Fourth official: John Beaton

Scottish Premiership: Steven McLean to referee Old Firm derby

Fifa referee Steven McLean will take charge of his first ever Old Firm derby when the two fierce Glasgow rivals meet on Hogmanay at Ibrox.

  •  First Old Firm derby for Renfrewshire whistler McLean
  •  First derby not officiated by Collum or Thomson since 2012
  •  Second league meeting of the season
  •  Celtic boss Rodgers’ first trip to Ibrox
Steven McLean referee
On the rise: McLean is regarded as one of the up and coming officials in Scottish football and on the international stage (Picture from Sky Sports)

Steven McLean will referee his first ever Old Firm derby in the televised New Year’s Eve lunchtime showdown, the Scottish FA has confirmed. 

The highly-rated Fifa official has been given the difficult task of administering law and order in the Hogmanay meeting of bitter Glasgow rivals Rangers and Celtic (KO 12:15 BST, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted at Ibrox by Frank Connor and Douglas Ross – who were also the linesmen for September’s Celtic Park derby – while John Beaton will be keeping the peace in the dugout as the fourth official.

Both meetings this term – Celtic’s 5-1 league win and 1-0 League Cup semi-final victory at Hampden – were officiated by seasoned campaigners Willie Collum and Craig Thomson respectively.

Collum and Thomson – Scotland’s only Uefa Elite Category officials – are the only referees among the current crop in the country who have previously experienced what is one of the most thankless tasks in world football.

So there is a certain level of responsibility on the shoulders of McLean, who has seemingly beaten off competition from Beaton and Bobby Madden to be appointed, in order to show that other officials are capable of rising to this particular challenge.

Only in an interview at the start of the season did McLean confidently insist the country’s whistlers can cope with the return of the unique Old Firm environment and there is enough strength in depth in terms of the number of leading match officials.

The 35-year-old has shown he can handle high-profile occasions in the 2014 League Cup Final at Celtic Park and last season’s dramatic Scottish Cup Final involving Rangers, after which he and his fellow match officials were caught up in an unsavoury pitch invasion.

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Regular: McLean will take charge of his 11th Scottish Premiership game of the season at Ibrox (Picture from BBC Scotland)

McLean has been fourth official for two Old Firm derbies before but nothing can quite prepare him for his debut in the middle, with the Scottish Premiership’s top two desperate to sign off in 2016 with a winning feeling and bragging rights to boot.

The East Renfrewshire whistler endured an eventful afternoon in Rangers’ home win over Aberdeen at the start of the month, dishing out nine yellow cards and sending off both Gers defender Clint Hill and Dons skipper Ryan Jack in stoppage time.

Incidentally, McLean last encountered Celtic in a league match against the Dons at Pittodrie in October but many Hoops fans felt he allowed Aberdeen to apply too much rough treatment despite only brandishing five bookings in their side’s 1-0 victory.

They were the only occasions he has officiated either side in the league this term although McLean oversaw Rangers’ first competitive game of the campaign, in their 2-0 win at Motherwell in July in the Betfred Cup.

Celtic supporters will also remember McLean as the referee who oversaw their controversial Scottish Cup semi-final defeat against Inverness in 2015.

The officials – including an additional assistant referee positioned behind the goal – failed to spot a clear handball by Josh Meekings on the line before Hoops keeper Craig Gordon conceded a penalty and was sent off.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila was furious after the game with the first-half decision, which happened when his side led 1-0, and the club subsequently wrote to the Scottish FA but nothing came of their complaints.

McLean has since handled five matches involving the champions without any major controversy but incurred the wrath of then Hearts boss Robbie Neilson for failing to protect his players against Hamilton in November.

Steven McLean points for goalkick (Hearts v St Johnstone - 2nd August 2015)
Fresh: McLean hasn’t officiated a game since Hibernian’s 1-1 draw at Greenock Morton in the Championship on December 17 (Picture from BT Sport)

Overall, he has brandished 95 yellow cards, sent off four players (three in the Premiership and all for second bookable offences) and awarded four penalties in 21 games in all competitions so far this season.

McLean – a Fifa referee since 2010 who refereed his first SPL game in November 2008 – is the older brother of former Ross County and Dundee United defender Brian McLean.

A qualified fitness instructor and physiotherapist, he is now employed full-time by the SFA as a referee recruitment and education officer.

Elsewhere, Willie Collum will be in the middle for Hearts against Aberdeen on Friday night as third and fourth in the table lock horns at Tynecastle.

You can see a full list of this weekend’s SPFL match official appointments here.


‘Horrendous and horrible’ – Fans react:

As is normally the case before any derby encounter, there is a lot of division among fans on social media – but most supporters of both teams have been largely united in being unimpressed with the choice of referee.


State of play:

Mark Warburton’s Rangers will be desperate to make home advantage count as they seek to record a first league win over their arch nemesis since a memorable 3-2 win over nine-man Celtic at Ibrox in March 2012.

But Celtic will have other ideas in their bid to increase their lead at the summit to a massive 19 points and simultaneously maintain their unbeaten domestic record this season under Brendan Rodgers.

Both sides had mixed fortunes on Wednesday night, with Rangers failing to get the better of St Johnstone in a 1-1 draw at McDiarmid Park while goals from Erik Sviatchenko and Stuart Armstrong gave Celtic a routine 2-0 victory over Ross County at Parkhead.

Attention can now fully turn to the 404th meeting in one of world football’s oldest rivalries. Rangers know only a fifth league win in six games would be enough to keep alive their slim hopes of toppling Celtic, who have scored 11 goals in their last three away league games.

Scottish Premiership: Willie Collum to referee Hamilton v Celtic

The Euro 2016 referee will take charge of the champions’ televised lunchtime kick-off at the Super Seal Stadium on Christmas Eve.

Willie Collum referee (Motherwell v Celtic - 9th April 2016)
High-profile: Collum is now well-respected on the domestic, European and international stages after some impressive and consistent displays (Picture from Sky Sports)

WILLIE Collum has been confirmed as the referee for Celtic’s televised Christmas Eve trip to Hamilton Academical.

The 37-year-old will take charge of Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off as the champions travel to the Super Seal Stadium to face Accies (KO 12:30 GMT, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted in Lanarkshire by Gavin Harris and Andy Milne, with Kevin Graham on fourth official duties.

Collum – Scotland’s Euro 2016 representative – will take charge of his 24th game of the season in all competitions, and his 11th in Scotland’s top-flight.

He has so far brandished 71 yellow cards, sent off four players and awarded eight penalties altogether.

The Glasgow-born whistler has largely stayed under the radar this season after being dropped for a period last term and in the spotlight following a number of controversial decisions.

However, Collum was slated by fans on social media after harshly penalising Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald for a perceived foul on Aberdeen’s James Maddison, which led to the Dons’ opening goal in their 4-0 win at Rugby Park back in October.

Meanwhile, the Lanarkshire-based referee has given penalties in both Hamilton matches he has officiated in the league in 2016-17.

His sixth-minute spotkick award, which proved to be decisive in Accies’ narrow win, against Aberdeen in October left Dons boss Derek McInnes raging with the official.

But Collum also gave a penalty against Accies, which Louis Moult converted as part of his four-goal salvo, in Motherwell’s Lanarkshire derby success at Fir Park in September.

The Religious Education teacher was due to oversee Hamilton’s Betfred Cup tie at Ayr United in the first round in July but had to withdraw through illness and was replaced by Nick Walsh.

Collum normally encounters the Hoops on a monthly basis but has only handled one game involving the champions this season – albeit it was arguably their most memorable one, the 5-1 derby success over 10-man Rangers at Celtic Park in September.

The appointment seemingly rules him out of selection for the upcoming Old Firm derby at Ibrox on New Year’s Eve.

Elsewhere in the Premiership on Saturday, Don Robertson will take charge of Rangers’ final match before Christmas at home to Inverness Caley Thistle – with Kylie McMullan, Joseph Lawson and fourth official Alan Muir completing the team of officials.

Collum has previously overseen two memorable games involving Hamilton and Celtic in recent years.

He infamously sent off three players, allowed Hamilton’s goal despite it being offside and gave Celtic a stoppage-time penalty in an incident-packed 1-1 draw in 2011.

And, last season, Collum replaced Craig Thomson as the man in charge for Celtic’s thumping 8-1 triumph over Accies at Parkhead and issued no cards.

The sides only met a matter of 10 days ago with Leigh Griffiths’ free-kick giving Celtic a 1-0 success – the 10th of 12 successive league wins the leaders have enjoyed under Brendan Rodgers to give them a 14-point lead at the top of the table.

Martin Canning’s Hamilton, meanwhile, are winless in eight games and sit ninth in the table but are only a point above bottom-club Partick Thistle.

Scottish League Cup 2016: John Beaton to referee Aberdeen v Celtic final

The Fifa whistler will take charge of his first major final at Hampden Park when Aberdeen and Celtic compete for the Betfred Cup at Hampden Park on November 27.

John Beaton referee (Hibs v Dundee Utd - 16th April 2016)
Return: It will be Beaton’s first game at Hampden since the Scottish Cup semi between Hibs and Dundee United in April (Picture from BBC Scotland)

JOHN Beaton has been appointed as the referee for the 2016 Scottish League Cup Final at Hampden Park later this month.

The current top two in the Scottish Premiership will face off at the national stadium for the first domestic prize of the campaign in the Betfred Cup on Sunday, November 27 (KO 15:00 GMT, live on BT Sport).

It will be Beaton’s first major cup final although he was at the helm for Livingston’s 4-0 win over Alloa in the 2015 Challenge Cup showpiece at St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park.

Dougie Potter and Michael Banks will be his assistant referees, while Don Robertson has been named as the fourth official.

Beaton, who has 15 years of senior experience and has been a Fifa official since 2012, has already handled 19 games in all competitions this season.

He has so far brandished 91 yellow cards, sent off two players and awarded some 12 penalties – more than any other Scottish official.

His most recent outing was the 1-1 draw between Hibernian and Falkirk in the Championship, in which he booked five players and sent off Bairns midfielder Tom Taiwo against his old club early on at Easter Road.

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Preparation: Beaton will be alongside his cup final assistants for St Johnstone’s Premiership match with Ross County this weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Lanarkshire-based whistler attracted criticism from Motherwell boss Mark McGhee and striker Scott McDonald after failing to award them a goal in their 2-0 defeat at Dundee earlier this month.

With the score goalless at Dens Park, Dundee goalkeeper David Mitchell stumbled over his goalline as he caught McDonald’s first-half cross – but neither Beaton nor assistant referee Ross Haswell signalled for a goal.

The 34-year-old has encountered both Aberdeen and Celtic twice each already in the top-flight.

He sent off Partick Thistle skipper Sean Welsh in the Dons’ 2-1 win in August, before awarding a contentious free-kick late on which led to their winning goal in their victory over Rangers a month later by the same scoreline and left Gers boss Mark Warburton raging at him on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Beaton dished out a massive 11 yellows in Celtic’s 2-1 victory at Hearts on the opening weekend and gave the hosts a dubious penalty as Jamie Walker was described as a “cheat” for taking an apparent dive.

It was a more straightforward afternoon for him when the Hoops beat Motherwell 2-0 exactly a month ago, in mid-October, but he did award Brendan Rodgers’s side a late penalty.

John Beaton explains decision (Dundee Utd v Dundee - 11th August 2015)
On the box: Beaton will take charge of his fifth match live on TV this season in all competitions (Picture from Sky Sports)

The two rivals, who have finished in the top two in each of the last three seasons, have also met twice this term – both ending in Celtic wins.

Bobby Madden was in the middle for their 4-1 victory at Parkhead in August, in which he sent off Dons defender Mark Reynolds and awarded the Hoops a late penalty.

While Steven McLean produced five yellow cards in a largely incident-free encounter at Pittodrie last month, in which Tom Rogic’s fine half-volley proved the difference for the visitors.

Beaton has been involved in plenty of controversial moments this season but has been rewarded for his efforts throughout his career with arguably his most high-profile appointment to date.

Earlier this term, he gave three penalties in 45 minutes to Dunfermline, all of which were saved by goalkeeper Cammy Bell in 10-man Dundee United’s 3-1 win at East End Park in the Championship.

And, in an eventful Premiership match between St Johnstone and Hearts, Beaton booked Saints strikers Chris Kane and Graham Cummins for diving and sent Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson to the stands for an apparent sarcastic clap towards him.

Beaton, from Motherwell, who first became a referee in 1997, has handled two League Cup semis, two Scottish Cup semis including one last season, and been an additional assistant referee for two Scottish Cup Finals.

But it will only be the third full game he will oversee at the national stadium, although he did take over in extra-time for Hibernian’s 4-3 Scottish Cup semi win over Falkirk in 2014 from the injured Iain Brines.

A Category One official since 2009, he has established himself as a regular in the Scottish Premiership since his first game – Dundee United’s 3-0 win over Dunfermline in March 2012.

Beaton, whose cousin Steven Nicholls is also a referee, hit the headlines last year when he was headbutted during a volatile derby in Saudi Arabia between Al Hilal and Al Nasr – during which he issued three red cards.

John Beaton referee (Hibernian v Rangers - 1st November 2015)
Occupation: Beaton, who once had ambitions to be a journalist, is now a full-time referee after giving up his day job as a communications officer at Strathclyde University (Picture from Sky Sports)

Beaton was an additional assistant referee as part of Willie Collum’s Scottish team of officials for two group games at Euro 2016.

He has also built up European and international refereeing experience of his own in the last few years, as one of seven Scottish officials currently on the Fifa list.

Aberdeen are aiming to lift silverware for the first time since winning the competition in 2014 while Scottish champions Celtic lifted the trophy the following year.

Derek McInnes, who suffered his first defeat as Dons boss against Celtic in 2013, will be hoping his side can emulate their two home wins over the Hoops last season but Celtic will be desperate to secure their first silverware under Rodgers.

Kevin Clancy, who refereed Ross County’s 2-1 win over Hibs in last season’s final, was in control of Aberdeen’s 2-0 semi-final victory against Morton while Craig Thomson oversaw Celtic’s 1-0 success over Rangers in the Old Firm derby.

This year’s League Cup Final has a pre-Christmas date for the first time since 1998, as part of the competition’s revamp this season.